The Extravaganza of the Seas is a 5,000-ton cash cow, a top-heavy tub whose sole function is to carry gamblers three miles from the Florida coast, take their money, then bring them back so they can find more money. Travelling this trip are Fay Benton, a single mom and cocktail waitress, desperate for something to go right for a change; Johnny and the Contusions, a ship's band with so little talent they are, well, the ship's band; Arnold and Phil, two refugees from the Beaux Arts Senior Centre; Lou Tarant , a wide, bald man who has killed nine people, though none recently; and an assortment of uglies with names like Tark and Kaz whose job it is to facilitate the ship's true business, which is money-laundering or drug-smuggling or...something.
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(234mm x 153mm x mm)
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
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US Kirkus Review »
The master of American poop 'n' doody-based satire returns to the Miami Crime-a-rama scene of his debut novel (Big Trouble, 1999). The problem with fiction is that it's really, really hard to make up stuff as stupid as the real-life lunacy Barry routinely exposes in his humor columns. But he gives it a good try. The main targets are crumb-ball floating gambling casinos and local TV news. The Extravaganza of the Seas, a highly profitable commercial venture owned by entrepreneur Bobby Kemp, steams daily into international waters to accommodate the deep-seated need of low-income Americans to get rid of the little money they have as quickly as possible. Skippered by a reformed cocaine junky, the Extravaganza features: a free buffet that nobody touches because it's always the same "food"; hard-luck waitresses; an evil croupier who reports to the local crime boss rather than the hapless owner; and a never-made-it rock band with orders not to distract the gamblers. And the ship has a second mission. Every now and then it heaves to on the open seas to off-load lots of cash and on-load lots of drugs, a task assigned by crime boss Lou Tarant and deeply resented by Bobby Kemp, who doesn't make a cent on the sideline. Tarant's relentless greed sends the ship and its load of nitwits, crooks, musicians, and slot-machine-obsessed Cuban grandmas into the teeth of hurricane Hector for an especially large pharmaceutical transaction complicated by a double-crossing coke shipper, his gang of hard-puking seasick cutthroats, a giant latex conch, a couple of wisecracking escapees from a senior center, and the deep longing of the band's lead guitar for Fay, the pretty, long-legged, single mum waitress who is more than she appears to be. Louder than the increasing winds are the hysterical TV weather-ravings of NewsPlex Nine. Low humor that will appeal to all those guys who keep America moving slightly off-course and to the women who love them. (Kirkus Reviews)
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